The University of Nottingham extended their Varsity Series lead over Nottingham Trent University to 9-6 after a 20-12 Rugby League win at Lady Bay on Sunday evening. Despite rain threatening to spoil the boys’ fun, there was a thrilling display of hard-grafting rugby, every bit earning the result they achieved.
The points were on the board early with Adam Cunliffe going over try line and James Adamson kicking a clean conversion to put Uni of in an early 6-0 lead.
The boys in green and gold played with a huge amount of physicality, facing Trent’s hard runners and bringing them down with ease. Handling errors at crucial points in the game ensured that the scoreline stayed free of a Trent score.
Trent seemed to play with a planned lack of creativity, working the ball out to one person before running it back in again. This tactic did not pay off against the Uni of defence.
Not long into the first half, Nathan Hill stormed upfield to score his first try of the match, bringing the crowd to their feet as UoN increased their lead to 10-0.
Trent soon shot back with a try of their own to put their first points on the board. It seemed that the kicking of the League Trent team had followed suit from Saturday’s Union team, having missed the first of many conversions and making the score 10-4 to Uni.
Great covering tackles from both sides ensured the score remained at 10-4 at half time
The next 20 minutes of the game were filled with line breaks from both sides, with Adam Cunliffe streaking up the field and Trent giving as good as they got. Great covering tackles from both sides ensured the score remained at 10-4 at half time.
Despite looking strong in the start of the second half, Uni soon gave way to the powerful running of Trent and another try was scored, making it 10-8 to Uni after another unconverted kick.
Tensions began to boil over for the third time as a scuffle broke out on the middle of the pitch, resulting in a Trent player being red carded. However, Uni struggled to utilise this and Trent slipped through their defence to add another four points and taking them into the lead 10-12. Again, no conversion was completed by Trent.
Not long after this, Trent were punished with a sin-binning, losing another man to bad discipline. Hill took advantage of this and crossed the line for the second time, making it 16-12 to Uni after a clean conversion from Adamson.
A great performance all round, effective shutting down of Trent’s attack as well as devious exploitation of space is what helped lead Uni of to victory on the night
And, with excellent awareness and raw speed, another excellent try from Hill clinched his hat-trick and rounded off the game for UoN 20-12.
WE ARE VARSITY 2015 CHAMPIONS! #greenandgold pic.twitter.com/YEO0XTwlmf
— UoN Rugby League (@UniofNottsRL) May 3, 2015
A great performance all round, effective shutting down of Trent’s attack as well as devious exploitation of space is what helped lead Uni of to victory on the night. Trent were not able to find it in themselves to be creative enough to score much needed points.
The result gives UoN their first Rugby League victory since 2012 and, going into the second week with events left to play, the green and gold hold a three-point Varsity Series lead over their noisy neighbours.
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Images: dgtl Concepts photographer Jack Gunter